Assemblymember Gloria Vows to Tackle Local Lack of Mental Health Services & Accrual of Billions in MHSA Funds
SACRAMENTO, CA – Minutes after being sworn in to his second term, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) announced his intention to address the accrual of billions of dollars in unspent Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds currently sitting in the coffers of California counties. Today, Gloria introduced AB 43 officially declaring the intent of the Legislature to ensure local governments follow the will of the voters with MHSA (Proposition 63) funds.
“Every day in every county, we see a very apparent need for mental health services in our communities. Yet, as reported by our State Auditor, county leaders have chosen to sit on or perennially ‘plan’ how to spend this money given to them by voters to address mental health. It is wrong and I intend to put forward legislation this year to deal with this,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “California counties must invest in mental health services. The need is too great and we can no longer accept excuses for why it isn’t happening.”
In February, the California State Auditor found California counties are holding onto a total of $2 billion in unspent MHSA funds. California voters approved the MHSA in 2004. The MHSA levies a one percent tax on individuals making more than $1 million per year to expand mental health services and treatment for those with a mental illness or at-risk of developing one.
Gloria introduced AB 2843 during the last legislative session in an effort to force California counties to either spend the unspent MHSA funds or have them redistributed to other public agencies to administer mental health services. The bill was unsuccessful in the Assembly.
“Over the next few weeks, I will evaluate legislative options to either repurpose unspent MHSA funds or provide additional oversight to ensure these funds are spent,” continued Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “What is most important to me is that those who need mental health services can access them. Those dollars sitting in a government account does nothing to improve access or solve the mental health needs in our local communities. This is what I hope to change with AB 43.”
AB 43 will likely be heard by an Assembly committee in April 2019.